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BREAKING NEWS

Nordstrom scores four times, Hancock routs Kingsford 7-1

Hancock’s Alex Nordstrom scores his first goal against Kingsford Tuesday at the Houghton County Arena. Nordstrom scored four goals in his team’s 7-1 win. (Eden Laase/Daily Mining Gazette)

HANCOCK — Over the years Hancock has had some quality players. No one knows that better than long-time coach Dan Rouleau (he has been on the staff for 23 years), so when he says Alex Nordstrom and Teddy Randell are both among the top-10 players he’s ever coached, it means something. What he says about them as a pair means even more.

“I think as a tandem, together, they are probably the most productive tandem I’ve ever had,” he said.

So when the time came to separate them, you can imagine why there were some hesitations. But Rouleau knew he needed production from other lines, and to get that, Randell and Nordstrom needed to take the ice with other players. 

The two have played on the same line for most of their time at Hancock, so Rouleau wasn’t sure what to expect when he told them of the plan. 

“At first we got the wide eyes like ‘what are you doing?’ but I think right now they are adapting well,” he said. “I told both of them that we are going to keep doing this for a little bit longer and they were both in agreement. So if they were a little bit sad about it, they got over it.”

It is easy to get over when you are scoring goals — and winning — and that is exactly what happened Tuesday in Hancock when the Bulldogs defeated Kingsford 7-1. 

Nordstrom didn’t waste any time getting started with his new line. The junior forward netted two quick goals in the first period, had a hat trick with seven minutes left in the second period and ended the game with four goals. 

He started play by slicing through the Kingsford defense and lining up a long shot that seemed to sail effortlessly into the net. The goal was a bad omen for Kingsford, signaling what was to come: No matter what they did, the Flivvers couldn’t contain Nordstrom. He skated around every defender that was sent his way and got to the net with relative ease. 

“His speed was amazing tonight,” Rouleau said. “I didn’t see that gear at all against Calumet or Houghton in the Holiday Tournament. He said he was tired that weekend and you just didn’t see that burst that I’ve always known he had. Tonight he blew by guys like they were standing still. I really liked his speed and how he took the puck to the net.

“You look at how well Teddy played the other night on Friday against Novi, and Nordy (Nordstrom) played great tonight, so I think they aren’t relying on each other, they are doing a lot of the work themselves and they are relying on their new linemates too.”

Against Kingsford, Nordstrom’s four goals helped seal the victory, but the difference between the Flivvers and the Bulldogs came in special teams. 

In the first period, Hancock was up 3-1 before two penalties gave Kingsford a 5-on-3 advantage. But the Flivvers came up empty, ensuring that Hancock kept the momentum. 

“That was a turning point in the game,” Kingsford coach Dennis Murvich said. “If we score one there it is 3-2 and we are right back in it and it is a different game.”

From there things for Kingsford went downhill fast, and in the second period, Hancock scored three power-play goals. 

“That is game, set, match, right there,” Murvich said. “We can’t give a team like Hancock, with their skill, six power plays. It is just never going to work. 

“We just wanted to contain Nordstrom and Randell. Those are two of the elite hockey players in the U.P. and you just try to keep those guys to the outside and limit their scoring chances. When we put those guys in the power play and give them room, that doesn’t work out well.”

Hancock also got a goal each from Bryce Randell, Colton Salani and Austin Salani. Kingsford’s lone goal came from Daunte Fortner in the first period. 

With the win, Hancock improves to 11-3 on the season and Kingsford falls to 7-4. Next up. the Flivvers host Portage Central on Friday. Hancock will have some time off before the Bulldogs travel to Negaunee on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. 

– – – 

Kingsford 1 0 0 — 1

Hancock 3 3 1 — 7

First period

Hancock — Alex Nordstrom (Austin Salani), 5:26, 1-0.

Hancock — Nordstrom (Austin Salani, Petr Anderson), 8:35, 2-0.

Kingsford — Daunte Fortner, 9:37, 2-1.

Hancock — Bryce Randell (Colton Salani, Teddy Randell), 11:20, 3-1.

Second period

Hancock — Nordstrom (Teddy Randell), 10:08, 4-1.

Hancock — Colton Salani (Teddy Perrault, Teddy Randell), 2:17, 5-1.

Hancock — Nordstrom (Dawson Kero), 15:41, 6-1.

Third period 

Hancock — Austin Salani (Nordstrom, Bryce Randell), 13:52, 7-1.

Saves

Kingsford: Trevor Anderson 17, Evan Hedtke 9; Hancock: Kero 18.

Penalties

Kingsford: 6/12; Hancock: 4/8.

Power plays

Kingsford: 0/4; Hancock: 3/6. 

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